WPIAL football playoff previews capsules for Nov. 4, 2022

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Thursday, November 3, 2022 | 8:23 PM


The 2022 WPIAL football playoffs are about to begin.

While the Class 6A postseason takes the week off, there are 27 WPIAL quarterfinals or first round contests from Class A up to 5A on Friday.

Here are preview capsules on 14 of the 27 games, all those not previewed elsewhere on Trib HSSN this week. Don’t forget after the games Friday to tune in to the WPIAL football scoreboard show for all the results and plenty of recaps.

Class 5A quarterfinals

No. 8 North Hills (3-7) at No. 1 Bethel Park (9-1)

7 p.m. Saturday, Black Hawks Stadium at Bethel Park

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Pat Carey, North Hills; Brian DeLallo, Bethel Park

Last week: Pine-Richland 47, North Hills 0; Bethel Park 27, Peters Township 21

Up next: The winner advances to the WPIAL 5A semifinals next week against the winner of the Upper St. Clair at Gateway game

Players to watch: Sam Coldren, North Hills (Sr., 6-1, 205, RB); Ryan Petras, Bethel Park (Soph., 5-9, 170, RB)

Factoids: North Hills leads the all-time series, 17-12-1, although Bethel Park has won the last three meetings, including a Week Zero victory this season, 22-10. The last Indians win was in 2005, 27-15. The one tie was in the first meeting, 7-7, in 1952. These teams have met one other time in the playoffs with the Black Hawks winning 33-27 in the 1980 postseason.

Class 5A quarterfinals

No. 5 Upper St. Clair (8-2) at No. 4 Gateway (7-3)

7 p.m. Friday, Pete Antimarino Stadium at Gateway

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com with audio only on KDKA-AM 1020, KDKA-FM 101.1

Coaches: Mike Junko, Upper St. Clair; Don Holl, Gateway

Last week: Upper St. Clair 35, South Fayette 0; Central Catholic 27, Gateway 14

Up next: The winner advances to the WPIAL 5A semifinals next week against the winner of the North Hills at Bethel Park game

Players to watch: Jamaal Brown, Upper St. Clair (Sr., 5-11, 205, RB); Brad Birch, Gateway (Jr., 6-1, 185, QB)

Factoids: This is only the fifth meeting between Upper St. Clair and Gateway and the first in 15 years. Gateway leads the series, 2-1-1. The only meeting that was not in the WPIAL playoffs was the first clash between the two with Gateway cruising past USC, 35-8, in 1969. In the 1974 WPIAL 3A finals, the Gators and Panthers were co-champs after playing to a 6-6 tie. There was no overtime in those days. In the third meeting in 1988, Upper St. Clair shut out Gateway, 21-0. The Panthers went on to win the district 4A championship but turned down an invitation to the first PIAA playoffs. The Gators won the previous playoffs meeting between the two in 2007, 32-20.

Class 4A first round

No. 9 Hampton (5-5) at No. 8 Montour (6-4)

7 p.m. Friday, Thomas J. Birko Memorial Stadium at Montour

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Steve Sciullo, Hampton; Lou Cerro, Montour

Last week: Highlands 19, Hampton 7; Montour 21, West Allegheny 20 in overtime

Up next: The winner advances to the WPIAL 4A quarterfinals against No. 1 Aliquippa

Players to watch: Brock Borgo, Hampton (Jr., 6-0, 200, RB); Jake Wolfe, Montour (Jr., 6-2, 195, QB)

Factoids: This is the fifth meeting between these schools with Hampton and Montour winning two each. The most recent meeting was the only time they clashed in the playoffs with the Talbots beating the Spartans, 19-14, in the 2015 3A first round. Montour won in back-to-back years in 1989-1990, 17-0, and 47-15. Hampton won the first meeting in 1988, 7-6.

Class 4A first round

No. 13 Blackhawk (4-6) vs. No. 4 Armstrong (9-1)

7 p.m. Friday, David ‘Red’ Ullum Field at Armstrong Stadium

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Zack Hayward, Blackhawk; Frank Fabian, Armstrong

Last week: Blackhawk 37, New Castle 7; Armstrong 40, Kiski Area 21

Up next: The winner advances to the WPIAL 4A quarterfinals to play the winner of the Mars at McKeesport game

Players to watch: Dontae Campagna, Blackhawk (Jr., 5-9, 165, RB); Caden Olsen, Armstrong (Sr., 6-5, 220, QB)

Factoids: This is the first meeting between Blackhawk and Armstrong. One of the schools that merged to form Armstrong in 2016 (with Ford City) was Kittanning. The Cougars were 4-0 all-time against the Wildcats, including regular season wins in 1993, 1994 and 1995 by a combined score of 96-34. Blackhawk also owned a victory over Kittanning, 27-21, in the 2001 3A playoffs.

Class 4A first round

No. 12 Mars (6-4) at No. 5 McKeesport (9-1)

7 p.m. Friday, George Smith Field at Weigle-Schaeffer Memorial Stadium in McKeesport

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Eric Kasperowicz, Mars; Matt Miller, McKeesport

Last week: Mars 21, North Catholic 14; Thomas Jefferson 20, McKeesport 10

Up next: The winner advances to the WPIAL 4A quarterfinals against the winner of the Blackhawk at Armstrong game

Players to watch: Eric Kasperowicz, Mars (Soph., 5-10, 180, QB); Bobbie Boyd, McKeesport (Sr., 5-8, 175, RB);

Factoids: This is the first meeting between Mars and McKeesport. Within the last 30 years, McKeesport has reached the WPIAL championship game four times, winning gold in 1994 and 2005, while falling short in 1999 and 2016. In that same time span, Mars has played for district gold twice, losing in the 2A finals in 1996 and 2002.

Class 4A first round

No. 10 West Allegheny (7-3) at No. 7 Laurel Highlands (7-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Mustangs Stadium at Laurel Highlands

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com with audio on WMBS-AM 590, WMBS-FM 101.1

Coaches: Dave Schoppe, West Allegheny; Richard Kolesar, Laurel Highlands

Last week: Montour 21, West Allegheny 20 in overtime; Laurel Highlands 45, Connellsville 0

Up next: The winner advances to the WPIAL 4A quarterfinals against No. 2 Central Valley

Players to watch: Gage Upton, West Allegheny (Sr., 5-9, 155, QB); Rodney Gallagher, Laurel Highlands (Sr., 6-0, 175, QB)

Factoids: This is only the third meeting between West Allegheny and Laurel Highlands. The other two were in back-to-back regular seasons with the Indians shutting out the Mustangs in each contest, 7-0 in 2004 and 28-0 in 2005. West Allegheny has won eight WPIAL football championships, but this is the Indians’ first playoff game since 2019. Laurel Highlands scored the program’s first playoff win last fall, 28-27 over Beaver in the 4A first round. This is the Mustangs’ first home playoff game.

Class 3A first round

No. 11 South Park (5-5) at No. 6 Shady Side Academy (5-4)

7 p.m. Friday, Michael J. Farrell Stadium at Shady Side Academy

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Marty Rieck, South Park; Chuck DiNardo, Shady Side Academy

Last week: South Park 21, West Mifflin 14; Shady Side Academy 42, East Allegheny 10

Up next: The winner advances to the WPIAL 3A quarterfinals against No. 3 Elizabeth Forward

Players to watch: Eric Doerue, South Park (Soph., 6-0, 190, RB); Darren Haynes, Shady Side Academy (Soph., 5-11, 145, RB)

Factoids: This is the fourth meeting between South Park and Shady Side Academy. South Park has a 2-1 edge over Shady Side Academy. The Eagles won the most recent meeting, 23-17 in 1999. The only Bulldogs victory in the series was in 1998, 35-28. The only other meeting between the schools in the postseason came in the 1997 WPIAL 2A championship game at Three Rivers Stadium. South Park blocked three punts in the first half in rolling past Shady Side Academy, 38-6. After beating the Eagles in the 1998 regular season, the Bulldogs went on to win the ’98 WPIAL 2A crown.

Class 2A first round

No. 9 Mohawk (4-4) at No. 8 McGuffey (7-3)

7 p.m. Friday, McGuffey Stadium

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com with audio on WJPA-FM 95.3

Coaches: Tim McCutcheon, Mohawk; Ed Dalton, McGuffey

Last week: Neshannock 42, Mohawk 12; McGuffey 43, Washington 24

Up next: The winner advances to the WPIAL 2A quarterfinals against No. 1 Belle Vernon

Players to watch: Jay Wrona, Mohawk (Jr., 5-11, 165, QB); Philip McCuen, McGuffey (Sr., 6-0, 175, QB)

Factoids: This is only the third meeting between Mohawk and McGuffey. The Highlanders won both previous meetings over the Warriors, winning 56-6 in 2014 and then again the following fall in 2015, 49-13. The only time either of these schools hosted WPIAL football gold was 28 years ago when McGuffey defeated Blackhawk, 12-6, to win the 1994 3A championship at Three Rivers Stadium.

Class 2A first round

No. 12 Washington (6-4) vs. No. 5 Serra Catholic (7-3)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Friday, Norwin Knights Stadium

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com with audio on WJPA-AM 1450

Coaches: Mike Bosnic, Washington; Jose Regus, Serra Catholic

Last week: McGuffey 43, Washington 24; Steel Valley 28, Serra Catholic 0

Up next: The winner advances to the WPIAL 2A quarterfinals against the winner of the Burrell at Neshannock game

Players to watch: Davoun Fuse, Washington (Sr., 6-4, 190, QB); Elijah Ward, Serra Catholic (Sr., 5-10, 150, QB)

Factoids: This is the first meeting between Washington and Serra Catholic. Serra Catholic is the defending WPIAL 2A champion after winning its first 2A crown last season over Beaver Falls, 35-12. The Eagles also won district Class A crowns in 1981 and 2007. Washington has won seven WPIAL football championships, including 2A titles in 1993,, 2001 and 2017. The Little Prexies lost in the 2A finals 10 years ago to Aliquippa, 34-7. They also fell in the 2019 championship game to Avonworth, 28-6. Wash High’s other four championships were in 1917 (shared with Johnstown), 1920, 1923 and 1926.

Class 2A first round

No. 14 Riverside (5-4) at No. 3 Sto-Rox (7-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Sto-Rox Stadium

On the air: No broadcast

Coaches: Fran Ramsden, Riverside; Marvin Mills, Sto-Rox

Last week: Riverside 28, Ellwood City 0; Sto-Rox 57, Seton LaSalle 14

Up next: The winner advances to the WPIAL 2A quarterfinals against the winner of the Apollo-Ridge at Keystone Oaks game

Players to watch: Sam Hughes, Riverside (Sr., 6-1, 190, QB); Josh Jenkins, Sto-Rox (Sr., 6-2, 180, QB)

Factoids: This is the fourth meeting between the schools and all four have taken place in the WPIAL playoffs. Riverside has defeated Sto-Rox in all three previous meetings. The first postseason clash took place in 1985 when the Panthers edged the Vikings, 22-20. The next one was not as competitive as Riverside eliminated Sto-Rox in 1991 followed by another tight one in 1992, 22-15. Riverside went on to win the 1985 championship and lost in the district finals in 1991 to Aliquippa and in 1992 to East Allegheny.

Class A first round

No. 9 Clairton (5-5) at No. 8 Our Lady of the Sacred Heart (8-2)

7 p.m. Friday, Moon Tigers Stadium

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Wayne Wade, Clairton; Don Militzer, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart

Last week: Clairton 43, Jeannette 0; Our Lady of the Sacred Heart 27, Cornell 26

Up next: The winner advances to the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals against the winner of the Jeannette at Bishop Canevin game

Players to watch: Capone Jones, Clairton (Sr., 5-11, 190, QB); Nehemiah Azeem, OLSH (Sr., 5-9, 160, QB);

Factoids: It’s a tradition like no other, Clairton facing Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in the WPIAL football playoffs. This marks the fifth straight season the Bears and Chargers are clashing in the Class A playoffs with the two having split the four previous contests. Last season, OLSH stunned Clairton at Neil Brown Stadium in the quarterfinals, 29-15. In 2020, Clairton won easily in another quarterfinals game, 54-20. On their way to a championship in 2019, the Bears blanked the Chargers in the quarterfinals, 41-0. In the first meeting between the schools, the Chargers defeated the Bears in the semifinals, 27-7. OLSH went on to win the 2018 WPIAL Class A championship.

Class A first round

No. 12 California (8-2) at No. 5 South Side (9-1)

7 p.m. Friday, South Side Stadium

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Ed Woods, California; Luke Travelplace, South Side

Last week: California 61, Bentworth 7; South Side 10, Rochester 8

Up next: The winner advances to the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals against the winner of the Leechburg at Mapletown game

Players to watch: Jake Layhue, California (Jr., 6-4, 195, QB); Brody Almashy, South Side (Jr., 5-10, 165, QB)

Factoids: This is the third meeting between California and South Side with the teams having won one each. The first meeting was in 1991 when the Trojans knocked off the Rams in the regular season, 34-26. The two met in a playoff game eight years later as South Side crushed California, 53-0, in the first round of the 1999 Class A playoffs. The Rams went on to win both a WPIAL and PIAA championship 23 years ago. Fifty year earlier, California won the 1949 WPIAL Class 2A crown.

Class A first round

No. 15 Carmichaels (7-3) at No. 2 Laurel (8-1)

7 p.m. Friday, Spartans Stadium at Laurel

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Ron Gallagher, Carmichaels; Brian Cooper, Laurel

Last week: Carmichaels 37, Jefferson-Morgan 14; Laurel 35, Shenango 0

Up next: The winner advances to the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals against the winner of the Union at Burgettstown game

Players to watch: Alec Anderson, Carmichaels (Sr., 5-10, 184, QB); Landon Smith, Laurel (Sr., 5-8, 150, RB)

Factoids: This is only the second meeting between Carmichaels and Laurel. The other previous clash was also in the district postseason over 40 years ago. Laurel defeated Carmichaels in the 1980 Class A playoffs, 29-7. The Spartans reached the WPIAL finals and defeated Clairton in the title game, 14-12. It is the only district football championship Laurel has won. Carmichaels also has captured one WPIAL football title, winning gold 70 years ago. The Mighty Mikes edged Wilmerding, 12-6, to win 1952 Class A gold.

Class A first round

No. 10 Union (7-3) at No. 7 Burgettstown (6-3)

7 p.m. Friday, Hill Memorial Stadium in Burgettstown

On the air: Video stream at TribHSSN.TribLive.com

Coaches: Kim Niedbala, Union; Greg Marshall, Burgettstown

Last week: Union 44, Summit Academy 8; Fort Cherry 48, Burgettstown 34

Up next: The winner advances to the WPIAL Class A quarterfinals against the winner of the Carmichaels at Laurel game

Players to watch: Braylon Thomas, Union (Jr., 6-2, 180, QB); Brodie Kuzior, Burgettstown (Jr., 6-2, 195, QB)

Factoids: This is only the third meeting between the schools, but they have both come in the last two seasons. Union defeated Burgettstown in the first meeting in 2020, 36-22. The Blue Devils won last fall, edging the Scotties, 12-8. Both of those games were when Union and Burgettstown were briefly foes in the Class A Big 7 Conference. Union has never won a WPIAL football championship while Burgettstown has two crowns to its name. The Blue Devils beat Crafton, 34-7, to win the 1941 Class 2A title. Burgettstown was declared WPIAL Class A champs in 1929.

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